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Trademarks/Unfair Competition

New Collective Trademark Regime Will Protect Well-known Geographic Marks

With effect from April 1, 2006, Japan will allow the registration of the regional collective trademarks of goods and services that have become well known through use and associated with that geographical region. Such regional marks are considered valuable business interests because of the inherent premium value associated in identifying products with the quality and reputation of a particular geographic region.

John A. Tessensohn and Shusaku Yamamoto

Supreme Court of Japan Brings Racehorses' Publicity Rights to Heel

This article discusses the implications of the landmark Supreme Court decision dated Feb. 13, 2004, which confirmed that since racehorses are considered as "things" - not humans - they will have no publicity rights to prevent the unauthorised commercial use of their names and images. So the owners of such non-human objects can only protect the names, likenesses under the existing statutory legal regimes of Japanese trademark, copyright and other intellectual property laws.

John A. Tessensohn and Shusaku Yamamoto

Trademark Opposition Decision based on Public Morality

An irreverent trademark registration covering confectionery candy is successfully opposed by a major Buddhist temple authority on the grounds that the mark was contrary to public morality as it offended religious beliefs.

John A. Tessensohn and Shusaku Yamamoto

International Searching & Clearance - Asia Pacific Considerations

US and European trademark owners must understand the important potential legal, linguistic and cultural pitfalls associated with the searching and clearing of a trademark in Asia Pacific.

John A. Tessensohn and Shusaku Yamamoto

Pirate Mark Invalidated on Public Order & Morality

The JPO ruled in favor of our client and invalidated an unauthorized trademark registration on the grounds of public order and morality.

John A. Tessensohn and Shusaku Yamamoto

Distinctiveness - Recent Court Decisions

Non-distinctiveness of a registered trademark or trade indicia is a well established & recognized defense in trademark infringement & unfair competition litigation in Japan.

John A. Tessensohn and Shusaku Yamamoto

No Small Beer - Unfair Competition Litigation brewing in Japan

Summer visitors to Japan will be welcomed by noisome cicadas, oppressive humid weather and relentless salvos of print and television beer commercials. Summer is the time where major Japanese breweries campaign for beer drinkers' hearts & minds encouraging them to seek respite from the strenuous strains of the steamy Japanese summer by lapping up a nice cold beer at rooftop beer gardens and watching fireworks displays into the late evening. 2002 summer's battle of the beers promises to spill out of the rooftop beer garden & into the Japanese courtroom over an intellectual property lawsuit about beer labels. Battle lines were already drawn in early 2002 as this slow brewing but high-profile dispute between two of the biggest Japanese beer companies, Kirin Brewery Co. and Sapporo Breweries Ltd., came quickly to a head with Kirin's petition for preliminary injunction that was filed at the Tokyo District Court in late March 2002. This article will examine several recent trademark/trade dress lawsuits bubbling up from the recent intellectual property litigation ferment in Japan and how such recent developments confirm that Japanese corporations are increasingly likely to initiate intellectual property infringement lawsuits against Japanese defendants in Japan, thereby shattering the myth of the reluctant litigant in Japan.

John A. Tessensohn and Shusaku Yamamoto

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